cyber security and password hacking

Cyber Security

Every month, AA Whittlesey Computers will be providing an article on laptop/computer technical issues. This month, Len and Deborah want to share important information about cyber security and password hacking, as well as bid a fond farewell to Ollie.

Farewell to Ollie
For the past five years I have had the pleasure of Oliver Cole working with me here at AA Whittlesey Computers Ltd. Originally he joined as a part-time Saturday/Sunday assistant whilst at Sir Harry Smith, then graduated through to working additional hours that suited him and his studies.

From there he moved to Peterborough Regional College, where he studied Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Digital Technologies and, at the time of writing this, he is awaiting his final grades, which I expect to all be Distinction/Distinction*.

He is leaving to join De Montfort University, where he will study Cyber Security, and already has his work placement for 2023/24 agreed in California, with Tesla.

Simply, well done Ollie. It’s been more than a pleasure working with you and seeing you grow from a young lad to an about-to-become-successful young man and we wish you every success in the future.

Next, Ollie will write the rest of the article on Cyber Security and Password Hacking…

Hacking of passwords
Hackers generally use about three or four different methods to hack/crack passwords (ignoring the scamming aspects, where you provide the information).

The main ones are:

Brute Force – where the computer tries every combination of every type of number, letter and symbol there is on a computer keyboard. For a simple five-letter password without numbers or symbols, it would probably be cracked in five to ten minutes, whereas with an eight-digit combination of symbols and numbers it could take, say, 45 minutes to an hour.

Dictionary – where the computer is fed, say, the Oxford Dictionary and/or modified dictionaries with custom words, and by matching words the hack eventually completes.

Leading Edge – where the computer takes a dictionary and, as the complexity of the word builds, it substitutes commonly-used symbols for letters e.g. Password becomes P@ssword or P@ssw0rd, etc…

Combination Attack – by using a combination of any of the above.

A good password is one which would withstand, say, 60 hours of attack; it will consist of a minimum of ten digits, comprising two symbols, three numbers, two uppercase letters and three lower case letters. The following password withstood 60 hours of attack: JH~5vQ1bI4

And frankly, if a hacker wants to spend more than 60 hours cracking your password, you really must have something worthwhile to hack!

Finally, having read this and, perhaps, decided to change your passwords, don’t just leave it until tomorrow, but sit down and change them all now – as I just did…

Happy computing,

Len and Deborah

Find AA Whittlesey Computers now at Grosvenor Road, Whittlesey PE7 1AQ. Get in touch on 01733 601663 or 07540 444262.


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